When I do smoke meat in the cold of winter, I try to cook things that get done a little quicker and things like briskets and pork shoulders that take 12-16 hours or longer just aren't on the menu quite as often. Enter the chuck roast.. a beautiful piece of beef with plenty of fat marbling to handle the heat and still remain moist. Even better, the cuts are fairly small and you can cook one in 4-6 hours.

A little longer cook time may be required if you are wanting to pull the meat instead of slicing it.

What you'll need for this recipe

Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats-- you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.

What to Purchase

You'll want to look for a chuck roast or perhaps a chuck arm roast with plenty of fat marbling in the meat. It might even say chuck pot roast depending on where you go to purchase the meat. Most of the cuts will probably be around 3 lbs so just find the one that looks the best. If you are needing more meat, just smoke 2 of them at the same time.

How to Prepare

Preparation is super easy in most cases although I did take the time to inject this one (something I almost never do for beef and pork). Remove the chuck roast from it's package and lay it in a cake pan or even on a cookie sheet while you get it ready to smoke.

You are going to want to add my rub to the roast before you smoke/cook it so you have a couple of options, You can inject it and rub it like I did or you can just apply the rub to the outside.

Want to inject it? Here's how..

I decided to inject the chuck roast with 1/4 lb (1 stick) of butter and 3 Tbsp of my rib rub. Place the butter and rub in a microwave safe container and heat until the butter is melted and bubbling just a little. Remove and stir the ingredients together until the brown sugar and salt are dissolved (about a minute of stirring should do it). Put the mixture back into microwave for about another 15 seconds or until the butter/rub is bubbling again. The other ingredients in the rub will not dissolve very well but the flavors will be released into the butter when they get hot. Stir the mixture briskly for about 30 seconds and you should be good to go.

Strain the mixture through a fine screen if possible to prevent the rub from clogging your injector. The no-splatter screen that you use while frying will work great. Save the rub for later.

Insert the needle at a 45 degree angle and inject the rub flavored butter into the chuck roast about every inch or so moving the needle around to make sure you get as much liquid into the “chuckie” as possible.

When you are finished injecting, scoop the rub that was removed from the butter onto the top of the chuck roast and spread it out over the entire top and sides of the meat.

You'd rather not inject the roast? That's ok;-) Here's how to apply my rub to the outside to add a ton of flavor..

Use some regular yellow mustard, like you'd use on a hotdog and squeeze out about 2 Tbsp onto the top of the meat and rub it all over the top, sides and bottom so that you have a thin, even layer all over.

Pour about 1/4 cup of my rub onto the top of the roast and massage it in real good.

That's it! You're ready to smoke that baby!

Set the roast aside and go get the smoker ready.

Smoking the Chuck Roast

Depending on whether you have a charcoal or wood smoker or if your smoker is electric or propane, get it going and allow it to preheat to 210-225 degrees. Once the temperature is holding steady and thin wisps of smoke are coming from the top of the smoker, lay the roast right on the grate.

For this recipe, I used a mixture of 70% mesquite and 30% hickory since I wanted a really nice and robust smoke flavor. Feel free to use any wood that you like such as cherry, pecan, oak or if you prefer a lighter smoke flavor, apple would be a great candidate.

Keep the smoke going for at least 3 hours if possible and maintain a temperature as close to 225 degrees F as possible. Monitor the temperature to make sure it does not get out of hand as you don't want the rub to burn. I like to smoke at around 210 when I have plenty of time as this ensures that the rub does not burn and it gives the meat more time in the smoke. This does add a considerable amount of time to the process but it is well worth it in my opinion.

Use a digital probe meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat to monitor the temperature of the meat while it cooks. You are looking for a temperature of about 190 -200 degrees F. Pull the meat out of the smoker when it's done but don't get antsy 'cause it's not done yet.. what happens next in the “tenderizing step” is very important for this cut of meat and in my opinion, makes all the difference in the world.

Important Smoking Information

  • Recommended wood: Mesquite, Hickory or a mix of the two
  • How long to apply smoke: At least 3 hours
  • Finish temperature of meat: 190-200 Degrees F
  • Best smoker temperature: 210-225 Degrees F
  • Smoker time required: 4-6 hours

Tenderizing the Chuck Roast

Follow these steps:

  1. Wrap the roast in a double layer of name brand heavy duty foil.
  2. Wrap it in a thick towel
  3. Place it in a size-appropriate ice chest or drink cooler.
  4. Fill in any remaining space with more towels, pillows or blankets
  5. Close the lid.

Let the meat sit in the ice chest for at least 2 hours and 3 would not be a bad idea. This is an essential part of the process and I figure it into the cook time just as I do the rest of the process.

If you don't have an ice chest, don't fear. You can also place the double foil wrapped meat in the oven on the warm setting (About 170-180 degrees) for a couple of hours to get a similar effect.

During this time in the ice chest or in the oven, the meat is not increasing in temperature but it is being tenderized and while the chuck roast is safe and can be eaten without this important step, if you can be patient enough to wait it out, you will be glad you did.

Serving the Chuck Roast

Slice the roast as best as you can, it may be so tender that you have to slice it thick, that's ok. Make up a batch of my delicious barbecue sauce and serve it warm on the side for dipping.

In the picture at the top you may note that we served the meat with my wife's bean soup which is perfect on a cold January day but it is good in just about any way you can imagine.. even on a sandwich if you desire.

Enjoy the flavor of the smoke and your hard work and don't forget to let me know if you enjoyed this recipe!

Please note that my rubs and barbecue sauce are now available in 2 formats-- you can purchase the formulas and make them yourself OR you can buy them already made, in a bottle, ready to use.
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